Action Alliance against Housing Shortage and Urban Degradation, Newsletter 153
Protest rally before the council meeting on September 7, 2023 at 3 p.m.
(The location will be announced)
For the reversal of the rent increases of the GAG
For the abolition of homelessness
In the current issue of StadtRevue, you can read GAG’s collected justifications for their rent increases. If board member Anne Keilholz is allowed to report that rents continue to be at the lower end of the rent index even after the increases, we would have liked to read how this affects the upper end of the rent index. What is more serious is that it is not possible to read what the increases mean for GAG’s female tenants. On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Tafeln, which support more than two million poor people with food, at least the failure of the welfare state is also addressed, because even the Tafeln can no longer meet the growing need for help. https://www.tafel.de/themen/30-jahre-tafel
On August 31, 2023, Cologne’s Greens, CDU and Volt addressed the question “Housing and commercial projects in crisis?”
In the motion of the self-proclaimed design alliance for the meeting of the urban development committee, there was talk of exchanging views on the current development of the real estate market and the impact on construction measures in the residential and commercial sectors. The reason given was:
“The consequences of the Corona pandemic, the Ukraine war, the tight skilled labor market as well as problems of global supply chains lead to uncertainty in the real estate market. In Cologne, the realization of numerous construction projects is currently under threat. Not least, the insolvency proceedings of GERCHROUP raise questions that require timely discussion in the Urban Development Committee.”
As one can know since Friedrich Engels, it is the real estate market one is worried about that has caused the housing issue. That’s the least that should come to mind. Then comes the solution: The Council has to face the task of how a non-profit housing sector and a strong municipal housing sector, which is not committed to maximizing returns, can be developed in Cologne.
After all, the social issue is a topic in the council on 7.9.2023, because the Left and SPD point out that the 49 euros of the Deutschlandticket cannot be financed for those receiving the citizen’s income. They therefore request a social ticket for 19 euros.
How little is to be expected from social department head Rau, he has conveyed once again in the district council downtown at the hearing on the increasing homelessness.
Instead of speaking first and foremost about the plight and misery of the homeless and the causes for this, the head of social affairs referred to the “distress we experience as a result of the misery”.
“Paradoxically, as I showed in my earliest and perhaps at the same time most topical book on labor and workers in Algeria, one must have at least a minimum of creative power over the present in order (…) to change the present with reference to a blueprint for the future. Unlike the subproletarian, the proletarian has this minimum of present certainty and security, which is the basic condition for even considering the idea of reshaping the present in relation to the hoped-for future.” (Pierre Bourdieu: Counterfire, Constance 2004, p.109)
Drug addiction and homelessness
The Catholic University of North Rhine-Westphalia (katho) and the German Institute for Addiction and Prevention Research (DISuP) there, with the support of employees of the public health department, studied the open drug scene in the vicinity of Cologne’s Neumarkt.
The study “Open Drug Scene Cologne Survey” was presented to the press yesterday. According to the study, about one third of the respondents (32 percent) are homeless and spend the night on the street.
Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger and Kölnische Rundschau reported.
Only one in five has their own apartment.
Less than 10 percent are housed in housing projects for drug addicts.
Two years ago, the parliamentary group of the Left Party in the Bundestag called for an end to the underfunding of women’s shelters.
“Eleven years after the signing of the Istanbul Convention, the assistance systems for victims are at their limit. Women’s shelters are chronically underfunded, and a corresponding lack of space is the result. Even at the beginning of the lockdown phases, most women’s shelters were already at capacity, but had to reduce places even further as a result of the infectious event, even though domestic violence continued to increase due to spatial constriction with the onset of the pandemic. We therefore call for better funding for counseling centers and women’s shelters nationwide. The minimum number of places provided for under the Istanbul Convention must be made available,” explains Heidi Reichinnek, women’s policy spokeswoman of the parliamentary group DIE LINKE, on the occasion of the International Day against Violence against Women on November 25.
SPD wants nationwide “rent freeze” for three years
Exploding rents are bringing people to the breaking point in many places. The SPD now wants to intervene more strongly in the market – and restrict the possibility of increases. https://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/spd-will-bundesweiten-mietenstopp-fuer-drei-jahre-a-1eeeb6c1-c420-4510-b7fa-5623f45db1c7
Without four walls
The traveling exhibition “Still Somebody – Voices for Change” in Northern Ireland illustrates the situation of the country’s homeless people.
“Wouldn’t want to be lying dead somewhere”
“Stern TV Spezial” shows shocking pictures from NRW
When night falls in Vienna: What homeless people fear
Three attacks on sleeping people cause fear, anger, but also a bit of solidarity among the city’s poor.
Serial offender murders homeless people: New leads from investigators
After deadly knife attacks on homeless people in Vienna, there are first new findings on the deeds.
Crisis in the real estate market
A punitive tax against vacant apartments?
The slump in new construction is exacerbating the housing shortage. Municipalities are also finding it increasingly difficult to create living space. A city in Rhineland-Palatinate now wants to increase pressure on owners to prevent vacancies. https://www.tagesschau.de/wirtschaft/immobilien-wohnungen-leerstand-100.html
In an evaluation, Zeit shows for Germany’s largest cities that these heat islands tend to be where people with low purchasing power live. They are therefore more affected by heat and in some cases at risk when there are extremely hot days and hardly any cooling at night. So far, cities are hardly responding to this challenge.
Sept. 01-02, 2023, 6 p.m. Movement Conference Abolitionism. Kulturbunker Mülheim
04.09.2023, 7pm, Right to the City, Open Meeting, Alte Feuerwache.
07.09.2023, 15:30 Cologne City Council. Rally from 15 clock
09.09.2023, 13:30 Demo Asylum right instead of injustice, Roncalliplatz
09.09.2023, 20:00, Where to go with Kurt? Film about 3 homeless people, Ebertplatz
11.09.2023, Day of the homeless https://www.wohnungslos-in-koeln.com/
15.09.2023, Climate strike https://www.klima-streik.org/
17.09.2023, from 10 o’clock day of the good life in Nippes
10.10.2023 World Homeless Day https://www.worldhomelessday.org/
10/17/2023, 7pm, Book launch “Trapped & Homeless”, Karl Rahner Academy https://weissmann-verlag.de/
10/21/2023, 11:11 am,. Rich people looking for a home. Satirical demo on vacant mansions in Marienburg, together with the Pappnasen rotschwarz.
01 – 10.11.2023 Prison Days: homelessness/jail/homelessness https://www.aktionstage-gefaengnis.de/bundesweite-aktionen/aktionstage-2023/
05.12.2023, 7 pm, Werner Rügemer: Who owns my living space. Friedensbildungswerk
For a city without homelessness
For a city without evictions
For a city without drug deaths
For a city without violence against women and children
For a city without deportations
For a city without poverty
September 2, 2023
Klaus Jünschke and Rainer Kippe
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Translated with DeepL